This week we have been getting back to our normal schedule for the new year. On Wednesday, I attended the State of the State Address in Albany with Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and some her staff as well as County Legislator Catherine Borgia. I enjoyed learning more about the Governor's priorities for 2020 and look forward to seeing how on a local level we can benefit from new State programs.
We made a lot of progress this week planning for the launch of our Food Scrap Recycling Program, funded by a grant from the New York State DEC. The last of the collection bins are ordered and we have been collaborating with Teatown to plan our education campaign associated with the program. But the biggest news of all is that we will be appointing our part-time Food Scrap Recycling Coordinator, Marcus DaSilva, at next Tuesday's board meeting. We met Marcus, and upon learning about his passion for the environment and all things outdoors, we knew he would be an excellent fit to help us coordinate this grant-funded program. Marcus will be starting at the end of January, leading up to our soft launch of the program in February. Very soon you will be able to compost all of your food scraps -- like the peels from these yummy Mandarin oranges! Stay tuned for more details about how and where to purchase kits to begin composting, and get ready to visit Marcus at Cedar Lane Park in just a few weeks.
On Wednesday, we received an update from the Village of Ossining Water Department regarding an issue some residents have been experiencing with the taste and odor quality of their tap water in recent weeks. The Village of Ossining Water Department also supplies water to the Unincorporated Town of Ossining. We shared this message in a separate e-blast yesterday morning, but I wanted to share this once again to ensure all see this message. I have also received word directly from the County Executive's office that the County Department of Health has tested the water and deems it safe to drink. Thank you to Water Superintendent Andy Tiess and Village Manager Karen D'Attore who have been working hard to develop solutions to this situation.
"In response to taste and odor issues, Ossining is now operating the Indian Brook Reservoir at 100% for our water supply. We will use this time period to design and implement a Powder Activated Carbon System to address this and similar issues in the future. In the interim, we will continue to use 100% Indian Brook as our water source while we continuously monitor reservoir levels. System demand is low this time of year, so it will take several days for the Croton Reservoir water already in the system to flush itself out. During this time, you may continue to detect taste and odor issues. However, within the next week or two, we anticipate significant improvements.
Recently we have been experiencing taste and odor issues with our water, described by residents as a musty taste and smell. It was determined by New York City that taste and odor issues stemmed from a specific organic compound 2-Methylisoborneol (MIB), produced by algae, detected in the Croton Reservoir, where Ossining draws most of its water from.
While Ossining and Westchester County continuously monitor water quality, we have been conducting additional tests under the guidance of Kirk Nowak, Ph.D., the leading expert in the country on taste and odor issues associated with potable water, to gain additional information and develop more effective strategies to address this issue. Today, we received results from Engineering Performance Solutions, an outside laboratory that specializes in testing algae that can cause taste and odor issues. It was found that the Croton water source had a result of 105.0 (ng/L) MIB, and Indian Brook had a result of <1.0 (ng/L) MIB. We immediately called the Westchester County Department of Health to get authorization to move to 100% Indian Brook as our source.
This condition has never been experienced during the 33 years of the water treatment plant operation. Further, this is not an Ossining-only issue. The taste and odor has affected all municipalities that draw from the Croton Reservoir. Despite the taste and odor, the water has been and remains safe to drink.
We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience. As we embark on the construction of a new water treatment facility, we will be working closely with experts to incorporate technologies needed to prevent this and similar issues in the future.
Please contact the Indian Brook Water Filtration Plant with any questions at 914-941-0128."
Yesterday, we went to the SPCA of Westchester to deliver the money raised by the Forest O'Fears team from their event last October. We were thrilled that this hardworking team, led by Fern Quezada, was able to raise over $7,000 to help support the animals at the SPCA. Huge thanks to Shannon Laukhuf and Lisa Bonnano from the SPCA of Westchester for being such excellent partners and for all they do to support our community and our community pets! We were also joined by some new four-legged friends, Daphne (up front with Lisa) and Minnie (with Maddi right behind them). Daphne is still up for adoption, but Minnie has found her forever home -- otherwise we would have brought her back to live on the 3rd floor at 16 Croton with us! Check out the many animals up for adoption and learn more about their incredible mission at the SPCA of Westchester website.
Finally, today is a bittersweet day in the Town of Ossining. Today is our Budget Director, Maddi Zachacz's last day working for the Town. Maddi has worked for the Town of Ossining for nearly 10 years as our Budget Director, Personnel Director, Aide to the Supervisor, and all around superhero to her colleagues. We are truly going to miss her, and her dedication, creativity, passion, and the intelligence she brings to her job each and every day. Maddi is going to be moving on to the Village of Ossining as Assistant Village Manager, and we know she will be amazing at this new responsibility. And best of all -- she is not going far and the Ossining community will continue to benefit from her hard work. At Tuesday's Board Meeting, we presented Maddi with a proclamation recognizing her continued service to the Ossining community. Today is Maddi Zachacz Day in the Town of Ossining -- a truly deserving honor!
The sweet part of this bittersweet day is that on Monday, my current Confidential Secretary, Victoria Cafarelli, will be stepping up into the role of Budget Director. Victoria has been working in the Supervisor's Office since December of 2015 -- right before I took office as Supervisor -- and has been learning so much in her current role. Maddi has been teaching Victoria all her tricks, so we won't skip a beat. So if you see Maddi or Victoria around town this weekend, be sure to wish them both well.
The Town Highway Department would like to remind everyone that leaf pick-up season is over for the winter. Please do not leave unbagged leaves to the curb for pick-up. Instead, all leaves must be bagged and put to the curb on your assigned brush pick-up day.
Also, Dale Cemetery Superintendent Pete Connolly would like to remind everyone to please pick up any seasonal decorations from Dale Cemetery or Sparta Cemetery by Monday, January 27th. Otherwise, the decorations will be removed and disposed of by our Cemetery Staff. If you have any questions, please call the Cemetery office at (914) 941-1155.
The Ossining School District's Saturday Explore and Learn series kicks off again for the winter session tomorrow, Saturday, January 11th. Register now for the many offerings for your entire family.
Mark your calendar for Repair Cafe dates in 2020 -- the first is this Saturday!
Get ready for Eagle Fest with a free film screening of "Bird of Prey" at the Ossining Public Library on Saturday, January 11th at 2pm, sponsored by Teatown Lake Reservation. This film by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology focuses on the Great Philippine Eagle and the efforts to save this species from extinction. I have heard great things about the beautiful cinematography -- you won't want to miss this!
A book discussion group focusing on African-American authors meets at the Ossining Public Library on the 3rd Saturday of each month. This month's book is Americanah by Chimandanda Ngozi Adiche, and the next meeting is January 18th at 3pm. Next month's book is The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead -- get your copy reserved now at OPL!
Plan on joining the Briarcliff-Ossining Ministerial Society for a service remembering the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Sunday, January 19th at 7:30pm at Star of Bethlehem Church. This annual service will feature the theme of Renewal and Reconciliation with speaker Reverend Dr. William Shaw. Reverend Shaw has experienced the power of renewal and reconciliation advocating for peace and acceptance through sectarian conflicts in Northern Ireland. This is sure to be an inspiring evening honoring the life and legacy of Dr. King.
Another way to honor Dr. King is to attend the Cooperative Scholarship Fund Celebration and Tribute to Dr. King, to be held on Saturday, January 18th at 3pm at the Ossining High School Theater. Donations will support the Cooperative Scholarship Fund, which goes directly to OHS students heading to college.
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef has her annual Town Meetings lined up for January and February, starting on January 25th at the Desmond Fish Library in Garrison at 10am and the Field Library in Peekskill at 1pm. Assemblywoman Galef will also be more local to us at the Briarcliff Manor Library on Thursday, February 6th at 7pm.
Save the date, Saturday, February 15th, for Gullotta House's 3rd annual Escape from Sing Sing Plunge! Register now, or become a sponsor -- the proceeds fund the Gullotta House's many deserving causes.